Note: This is the second of three posts about my recent visit to Reebok Headquarters in Canton, Mass. To read the first post, click here.
I’ve never participated in a CrossFit workout. Sure, I’ve seen WODs on blogs and even set foot inside boxes, but actually doing a CrossFit workout? No. So I was really, really excited when Reebok arranged for CrossFit C (who took these photos!) and me to do a WOD at Reebok One in Canton, Mass.
Reebok opened its CrossFit One location after it partnered with CrossFit in 2010, and 30 employees were doing WODs at the time, according to Dan Sarro, Corporate Communications Manager at Reebok. To hire its coaches, Reebok went to CrossFit headquarters and asked them who the best coaches in the business were – then hired them. In 2011, the company started offering an on-ramp course that attracted 20 people each week, and by May 2011, the box had 400-500 members. Some of Reebok’s employees did their first CrossFit workouts at the box. At one point, Reebok headquarters hosted regionals here, but because of the growing popularity of CrossFit, can’t any longer because of space limitations.
|It was a little intimidating.|
Our workout was led by Denise Thomas, one of eight female coaches who certifies others as CrossFit Level 1 coaches. Kelley Jackson was also coaching, and we met Austin Malleolo, the head coach at Reebok CrossFit One. Olivia Rotenberg, Assistant Manager of Corporate Communications, joined us for the WOD, which looked a little scary:
- 3 deadlifts
- 2 power cleans
- 1 jerk
When we went back inside, I started off with the 2.5 lb plates on each end, which Denise deemed appropriate for me. After a couple of rounds, she increased the weight, well within my abilities. By the last round, I had two 10 lb plates on my barbell, which was just challenging enough – but not so challenging that I was struggling. (I regularly do kettlebell deadlifts with 52-lb kettlebells, for 8-10 reps, and overhead press with two 15-lb dumbbells for 8-10 reps, so this wasn’t anything outside my range, considering the low reps for each round.) I didn’t care that I had the lightest barbell in the room, and I didn’t feel any pressure to add an amount of weight that would have made me uncomfortable or that would have been unsafe. That’s particularly important; CrossFit is not about getting injured.
And I won’t lie; the jerks were tough at the end, because I had to get that barbell over my head, but Kelley was right there to make sure I didn’t drop it on my skull. And I did need the resistance to really focus on form, snapping my elbows out and pulling and pushing through the lifts. Kelley and Denise were definitely watching me closely since it was my first time; they’re great coaches, and they want to make sure CrossFit is a fun experience. But I made it through the workout; I didn’t hurt myself; and I was completely exhilarated afterward. It was like how I felt after any good workout, but amped even just a bit more because a) I had a nasty cold, but I still did the workout and b) there is something extremely empowering about hefting a barbell.
|Your first workout is always a PR.|
(Side note: Reebok provided me with the awesome CrossFit tank, sports bra, ass-to-ankle shorts with the Carson, Calif. print from the CrossFit games – which makes me wonder if they know how much I miss L.A. sometimes – knee socks, and Nano 5.0s. I loved every single piece. The tank was super-soft; the bra had just the right amount of support and a cool motivational saying on the inside; the shorts provided awesome coverage while showing off my runner’s legs; the socks protected my shins from the barbell; and the Nanos gave me the right support and stability for lifting.)
But that’s not all from my visit! Stay tuned for Wednesday, which is all about Reebok’s running strategy.